Scarlett is the creative maker behind AFRAYED Upcycling – a zero-waste upcycled clothing company based in Liverpool. After being turned down by three other shredding companies, Scarlett approached us with a mission in mind: to make her upcycled clothing company even more sustainable.
AFRAYED Upcycling is a business that, like Shred Station, has had sustainability at its heart since its formation. Scarlett’s mission is to “create a brand that is individual and unique, yet doesn’t hurt people or the planet”. She expertly crafts one-of-a-kind items like dresses, bags, headbands, tops, and jumpsuits from second-hand fabrics. She sources these fabrics from charity shops, car boot sales, eBay, and by buying textile items destined for landfill. Even items like buttons are mostly second-hand! You can see examples of these items on the AFRAYED Upcycling Instagram page.
The challenge AFRAYED Upcycling faced was repurposing unusable textile scraps. As a zero-waste company, this was vital. Most larger scraps are suitable for reuse in accessory pieces like headbands and hair clips. However, the scraps that aren’t suitable for reuse in garments also had a potential. If shredded properly, they could be used as stuffing and wadding for quilted items. It would be incredibly time-consuming to manually rip every textile scrap into shred-sized pieces, so that’s where Scarlett sought help from shredding service providers. All other shredding companies that AFRAYED Upcycling contacted would not return the shredded textiles after destruction. That was until Scarlett approached Shred Station – a proudly CarbonNeutral® shredding company that loves to see sustainable businesses thriving.
Textile waste is an enormous environmental issue, both in the UK and worldwide. WRAP’s Textiles 2030 Annual Progress Report for 2022/23 found a fall of only 2% in the UK clothing industry’s total carbon footprint between 2019 and 2022. With a target of a 50% reduction for new textiles by 2030, this progress, while a start, is simply not enough. Innovation is key to secure a sustainable future in the textiles market, as well as using sustainable textiles, recycling, and reusing old textiles.
Scarlett of AFRAYED Upcycling explains why reusing old textile scraps is important for her business:
“Tons and tons of textiles are dumped in landfill every year. I wanted to create a business that didn’t contribute to this as well as show how second-hand textiles can be made into beautiful things. With making clothing, comes a lot of fabric scraps, so it’s important for me to work with these to minimise any waste.”
At Shred Station, we shred and recycle all sorts of textiles, from old uniforms to last season’s designer clothes. So, when AFRAYED Upcycling got in touch, we knew we would be able to help.
Upon receiving the materials from AFRAYED Upcycling, we got to work. As we knew we would be returning these materials to Scarlett, we first had to ensure they were separate from our other textile shredding customers’ materials. To do this, we first deep cleaned our bespoke off-site textile shredding machine. Once all inputs and outputs were clean and clear of any other material, we loaded Scarlett’s material into the hopper and let the shredder do its thing! Our industrial shredder meant we were able to shred beautiful textile scraps into reusable padding material for Scarlett in no time at all. From there, we shipped the materials back to Scarlett’s address in Liverpool.
Upon receiving the shredded textiles, Scarlett has been able to use them in new products.
“Through experimentation, I found shredded scraps and thread ends work really well as an alternative to wadding used in quilting! The scraps can be sandwiched in between a lining and front fabric, then stitched down to create a quilted-like item. I currently use this technique for bags but hope to use it for larger clothing items. I find that working with scraps and finding creative ways to celebrate this waste product really exciting.”
“I wanted to find a local business in Liverpool that allowed me to shred my textile scraps and send them back to me. Out of all of the business I contacted, Shred Station were the only ones who kindly offered to help me on my mission. The process was very easy and a big shout out to Emily and Kristian for arranging this for me. I think there is huge potential for what shredded textiles can become. The material is very light/spongy once it’s been shredded which could work well for stuffed items like doorstops, draft excluders, ornaments etc. I have plans for the future to see how I can make the scraps into more of a design feature rather than a hidden layer in bags/clothing – it’s going to take some more experimentation, but I’m really excited to try it out!”
We are so pleased we have been able to assist AFRAYED Upcycling with its zero-waste ethos and facilitate the reuse of textile scraps. While small in scale, every action we take to prevent waste is worth celebrating and little changes like this can help to make a big difference.